Lessons learned from first long Roadtrek Trip

In all, we traveled about 2,300 miles through seven states – from Michigan to Florida, and back. It was our first trip in the Roadtrek and here are my takeaways from the long drive and four nights of sleeping in the rig:

  • It drives best between 65-70 mph. I did all but a hundred or so miles and am now thoroughly comfortable behind the wheel. I've learned to rely on those big and extra wide side mirrors, have the hang of parking, cornering and handling the wind buffeting from passing 18-wheelers.
  • The Roadtrek speeps best when the bed is set up as a king, rather than two twins. Easiest way to make it up is to open the rear doors, fit the sheets from the top end there, close the doors and then fit the bottom end from inside. Do it before dark so insects aren't drawn inside to lights.
  • Don't drive more than 350-400 miles in a day, unless there is another driver. As comfortable as it is behind the wheel, that's a solid seven to eight hours driving. Any more will leave you cranky and overly tired  at the end of the day.
  • Get to your destination well before dark. I pulled it at or after dark all four nights. Even with a good flashlight, the darkness makes it hard not to avoid and then track in mud from outside. That happened to me the last night. Besides, if you set up before dark, you can easily find and gather firewood, level the rig if needed and make the hook ups much more efficiently.
  • If it is dark and you do have to set up, use a lantern or a headband light, not a flashlight. I dropped the flashlight several times, finally breaking the bulb.
  • Make sure all the doors are closed at night. Bugs love light. Bugs inside a Roadtrek will really bug you.
  • Carry disposable gloves for pumping diesel and emptying the black tank. Both stink. Have hand cleanser nearby, too.
  • Plot out the next day's destination before going to bed.
  • Three days worth of clothing is enough. Most parks have laundry.

You can catch some of the other lessons I learned in the accompanying video.

As to my Roadtrek, I have ordered three new items:

From Crutchfield, based on repeated recommendations from other RVers in the forums I consult, I today ordered a replacement radio with an iPhone/iPod USB connector. It's the JVC Arsenal KDAHD65 CD Receiver. It was onsale at $129. For $59, I bought am InstallCard, which is prepaid installation. I have my pick of several specialty sound shops already qualified by the very helpful Crutchfield sound adviser to work on my Roadtrek.

From REI, I ordered two GCI Outdoor Pico Telescoping Chairs. I chose these again on the advice of other RVers. The chairs fold up super small, about the size of a laptop. Perfect for the rear storage area.

And from ebags.com as suggested by other RV.net forum friends, I ordered two large three-piece packing cubes – one blue for me, one raspberry red for Jennifer. They cost $26 for a three piece set. Each stores lots of clothing, very flat.

One more thing I need to get is a new digital TV. The one that is in my '06 Adventurous is pre-digital. While the dealer gave me a digital converter, it's not as easy to operate nor does it deliver the picture quality I'd like.  I'm looking for recommendations.

 

 

There are

17 comments

  1. Gary Kim

    VIZIO 22″ Class Razor LED-LCD 1080p 60Hz, Full HDTV, 2.27″ Ultra-Slim, M220VA
    About $180 – 200. Lighter, thinner, less power draw, HDMI inputs

      • Gary Kim

        I just measured it and it is about 1″ wider, but you can angle it. I have a heavy bungee cord holding mine in place so it doesn’t bounce around or wear the bolts any quicker than necessary. I’ll have one no later than June. I’ve seen it in both Costco and Sam’s Club

  2. Gordon

    Mike, regarding travel times and when to look for a place to spend the night. Both my wife and I drive. When we want to make time we drive 2 hours on 2 hours off. We have covered as much as 900 miles doing this. That was a little extreme. The door latch on our RS side door broke while we were on the continental divide in southern colorado. We held it closed with duct tape, but did not want to overnight, so we traveled straight through to Kansas City. A more typical rambo type of day was when we were headed from KC to Florida. We have made that trip numerous times and just wanted to get to warm weather. We left KC at sunrise and arrived at a Walmart in Cartersville GA at dark. We called ahead and confirmed that they allowed overnight parking.

    When we are in “ambling around” mode, we follow the schedule of starting to look for a place for the night at around 3pm. That gives us a chance to check out a couple of places before we are rushed to make a decision.

  3. Mike
    Author

    Thanks Gordon…for the diagram and driving info. My wife isn’t too keen on driving the RT so it’s all me. And doing much more than six or seven hours — 300 to 400 miles – is counterproductive for one person.
    When we drive my SUV, she and I alternate at 2.5 hours each.We can go lots further sharing that way. But it looks like I will be a lone driver t=for the RT.

  4. Trekker

    Looks like you found out all the secrets on your first trip! Congratulations, and glad you enjoyed it. You REALLY should encourage your wife to drive, it makes the trip more enjoyable for both. My wife shares the wheel time, and she truly enjoys driving the Sprinter. Sometimes we have a ‘fight’ to take the wheel! Once your wife tries it, she will be over her fear very quickly.

    We’re getting set to head out on another month-long 6,000 mile trip West. We’ve put 65K miles on our RT in 3.5 years. Love it !!

    While you’re at Crutchfield, order some JVC Arsenal component speakers to replace the OEM paper speakers. BIG improvement.

    If anyone gets the replacement TV installed, please report back.

    Regarding you video, a little constructive input—please don’t use background music, it’s annoying and distracts from your message.

  5. Even though we don’t own a RV, the tips you gave can easily apply to anyone travelling and camping.

    All the tips you have mentioned, we too have learned many of them over time whilst camping – and definitely agree about getting to your destination in daylight. Setting up in the dark is painful (especially if you have to put up your tent).

    Living in Australia, is not uncommon to drive very long distances to get to some of our destinations, but also concur that there is a limit to what you can do in one day comfortably. Not a lot of fun getting to your destination and being too wrecked to enjoy it.

  6. tony

    if you were buying a new class b today would you still go with the adventurous? i love the dependability that roadtrek seems to have but like the layout of the new 13 era a little better. has a tv up front too that swivels to the outside so you can watch from under the awning. would be good for ballgame tailgating.

  7. Mike
    Author

    If I were still buying today… and I may indeed upgrade… it would be a toss up between the Roadtrek RS-Adventurous and the Roadtrek Popular 210.
    My wife still is uncomfortable driving our 2006 Sprinter van RS-Adventurous because of its higher profile. She’s very comfortable with the 210, which we took on a testdrive a few weeks ago. We like the layout of the RS and especially the lighter colored wood. Neither of us are big TV watchers. I did replace the TV in our RT with a new digital one and a new BluRay DVD player. They get a phenomenal picture, but we haven’t done much watching, other than the local news in the places where we camp. But all things being equal, put to the test and if I could financially swing it, today I think I’d trade in or sell the 2006 and get a new Popular 210. Personally, I love the RS-Adventurous. I love driving it. But as we get ready for some very long trips this summer, I’d like some behind the wheel help from my wife. Hope this answers your question.

  8. Jerry Redfield

    Mike, I’m having trouble finding the videos. When I click on Videos all I get are “stills” (for example on the e-bags and the sleeping bag). What am I missing?

  9. Jerry Redfield

    Mike I discovered the You-Tube connection and your videos. I’m a bit envious as my “new” Roadtrek is a ’91. However, your excellent suggestions still apply in most instances and we’ll be using many of them as we head for Washington State this August. I appreciate your efforts! Keep on Trekin’!

  10. Randy

    Just click on any of those images and it will take you to the story with the videos. Mike does a great job. He’s kind of everyman on the road.Can’t wait to read more of his travels!

  11. RVing LiveTheDream

    Hi Mike, We are new to roadtrecking and have a question on our new 1995 210 popular. Is there a forum or group that we can ask a questions? Thanks Debi

  12. jennifer K

    Having problems with my blank tank with my Ss agile. Always read “full”. My grey tank indicator is okay. what should I do. Any thoughts to fix this problem. Also is there a good back flush device I can buy for my small macerator to back flush my black tank.
    Jennifer

  13. Great post and tips. Only thing I take issue with is the “most parks have laundry” comment. I guess it depends on the types of parks and possibly the part of the country where you are traveling. We have found that most commercial campgrounds do have laundry facilities, but most public facilities do not. We have encountered laundry rooms at a couple of state parks (notably Missouri) but not at any national forest or COE campgrounds or city/county parks so far, traveling in the southeast and midwest. So we tend to stop at laundromats between stops or, if staying in a city park, walk or bike to the closest one. We are full-timers and try to do laundry every week, but sometimes, depending on facilities, we have to go as long as two weeks between loads. We are in a 32′ class A so have more room to carry clothing than we would in a Roadtrek, of course!